Kyle Novak

Kyle Novak works in the Global Development Lab at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Policy Fellow. At USAID Kyle advises development practitioners on effective and appropriate use of digital technologies and data to accelerate development and improve decision-making. Prior to working at USAID Kyle served over twenty-one years in the US Air Force as an applied mathematician, data scientist, and decision analyst. Kyle holds a PhD in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin.

Digital technologies can enable solutions, but are not the solutions themselves

Interview with Kyle Novak by Susann Tischendorf

Is blockchain the best tool to solve your problem? Will machine learning create decision-making that is more equitable? Kyle Novak shares some of the complexity that comes along with emerging technologies and the tensions entrepreneurs must consider when dealing with open data sources.

Listen to the podcast on Soundcloud

Key takeaways: 

'You ought to start with defining ‘what is the problem that you are really trying to solve?’ and from that, identify potential solutions that might solve that problem. Once you have identified a specific solution, then identify technologies that can help enable that solution.'

'On the top of the hype curve, machine learning comes in as a means of allowing decisions to be made more equitably. But we see that machine learning often effects the biases that already exist.'

'There are tensions when dealing with responsible data: tensions between transparency and better governance, tensions between privacy and security, and tensions when making better use of data for economic purposes.'

'On the one hand, cloud computing can create huge efficiencies. On the other hand, it may create higher risk and problems dealing with privacy and security. Being able to understand that… and having a certain a level of digital literacy… is going to become more and more important.'

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